Breastfeeding center opens in Norwich
OB-GYN Services treats area patients with care and compassion, and its new Breastfeeding
Center is no exception. Housed in a separate building on- site, the cozy retreat for families and babies was to have its grand opening on July 28 at 17 Case St. in Norwich.
The first of its kind in the area, this facility is a much-needed service and already a welcome one.
“It is our mission to support newly pregnant and breastfeeding mothers through education and support services,” explained Tracey Gomes-Johnson, Practice Administrator at OB-GYN Services. “We felt there was a real need for this in the community. On day 3 (after giving birth), a lot of mothers stop nursing and start bottle feeding. They get a little bit of education in the hospital. There’s a lot of resources online but not a lot of one-on-one care. This offers them a place where they can get that immediate care.”
Gomes-Johnson and Kathie Gauthier, traveled to Cleveland several years ago and visited its Breastfeeding Center, which the Norwich one is modeled after.
Gauthier is the midwife and lactation consultation who practices in the center, and will be with patients throughout their journey. This includes the beginning with a breast exam and screening, as well as preparing to go back to work and learning how to pump breast milk. Everything in between includes: breastfeeding education, latching, intimate classes for parents (Preparing for Birth, Caring for Your Baby, and a Father’s Class coming soon), and even a small boutique which carries nipple cream, breast pumps, pregnant belly salve and onesies. They are also hoping to add Baby CPR.
Gauthier notes that one of the first thing she does is help patients order breast pumps, and it’s important to note that insurance covers most of their services. She stresses the importance of those first few days after leaving the hospital, where new moms might be struggling with latching. Sometimes, it just takes a different approach and someone to remind you that you are not alone in this process, which can be overwhelming.
They also have a scale to weigh babies to ensure they are progressing.
“My greatest moment yet was when a baby gained 4 oz. in 4 days. And seeing how happy that mom was. It’s so hard when a baby loses weight and a mom thinks it’s her fault because her baby’s not eating,” she said.
Both Gauthier and Gomes-Johnson also recognize that some moms are not able to, or do not want to, breastfeed. They welcome all patients and new members of the community.
“We’re here to support mothers either way, no matter what they choose,” Gomes-Johnson said. “We’re here to support not only our patients but the community and all their child birthing and breastfeeding needs.”
The current national formula shortage has not gone unnoticed by either practitioner, which is why this center is a welcome advancement for patients, who may not have turned to breastfeeding otherwise.
“It’s a struggle for our patient population,” Gomes-Johnson said.
“It’s a stressful time for them.” Gauthier added, “I think they’re really concerned with the price. People who were on the fence about breastfeeding are leaning towards it now.”
Their mission is to be as available as possible and a resource for new families in those first few crucial days and months. An added benefit is telemed visits. If it’s late at night and a mom is struggling to nurse a new baby, Gauthier can easily get on the computer through a secure link. She can see if the baby is latching and if not, correct the latch to help the patient through the process, ensuring a well-fed baby and peace of mind for mom.
The Breastfeeding Center at OB-GYN Services is seen as progress in local post-natal care. The education, compassion and support for mothers, babies and families will help advance child and maternal care in the community. For more information, or to schedule a visit, call (860) 886-2461.
Nicole Roberge is a writer from Uncasville and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, ELLEgirl, Song Facts, Blurt, Hear/Say and Script Magazine. She is the author of the memoir “Hang in There, Wherever ‘There’ is.”